Thursday, February 1, 2018

Jacob's Sermon Begins -- 2 Nephi 6

What Happens

"Jacob recounts Jewish history: The Babylonian captivity and return; the ministry and crucifixion of the Holy One of Israel; the help received from the Gentiles; and the Jews’ latter-day restoration when they believe in the Messiah."
2 Nephi 6 Chapter Heading


In our last episode, Nephi made his younger brothers Jacob and Joseph priests and teachers over his people after they split apart.  This seems to be a record of one of Jacob's sermons.

 I'm impressed in verse 3 by the reason that Jacob is doing this.  He is concerned about the welfare of the souls of the people around him.  How often do we really think about one another's souls? :)  Doing so might pull us out of our short-term thinking a little bit, as we go throughout our day thinking about how we can help one another on a spiritual level.

In verse 4 he says "I would speak unto you concerning things which are, and which are to come; wherefore, I will read you the words of Isaiah."  I like this idea of talking about now and about the future... looking forward.  And then he reads from Isaiah, which in some ways seems like the past, right?  But just like we recently read in past chapters, these prophets saw the future, including our day, and so they can help us with thinking ahead as well.

In verse 6 he starts quoting Isaiah, and Isaiah is always good.  Interesting to think about likening it all to us (verse 5) though.  How do these scriptures apply to us?  Jacob gives us one hint in verse 5 as well.  We are of the house of Israel (either by blood or by adoption if we covenant to follow the Lord).  I like the line in verse 7 "they shall not be ashamed that wait for me."  Looking to and waiting on the Lord--trusting him, is never something that we need to be ashamed of, because God is there to back us up and make sure that our trust is not in vain... specifically with reference to the Second Coming, which Isaiah is leading up to here, but also a promise in general, that God will always keep his covenants with us.  It's our side that we have to worry about. :)

Jacob jumps in here and explains how this applies to the people (which is awesome, especially with Isaiah).  The Lord showed him that Jerusalem was sacked, and part of Isaiah's promise here was that it would be restored.  Then he goes back to quoting Isaiah, furthering this idea of restoration.  God's message throughout these verses is that he will deliver his covenant people. 

Isaiah, as always, is many-layered, so I think in talking about his covenant people he means specifically those at Jerusalem (mentioned in verse 8), but also the Gentiles (mentioned in verse 12), so in essence, all of us who "repent and fight not against Zion" (verse 12). He specifically also mentions that "none will he destroy that believe in him" (verse 14), which is a pretty amazing promise, likely specific to this event, but also true in a general, eternal sense.

My favorite part in the last part of this chapter (verse 17) is "I will contend with them that contendeth with thee."  The idea that God will fight our battles for us is an amazing promise.  I think, again, that the meaning here is many layered.  God likely doesn't mean that he will fight all of our battles for us, since we need to learn to handle things as well, but specifically the ones at the Second Coming are included, as are, perhaps, other battles like that... ones where we have done all we can, and only a miracle will do.

I think sometimes we see that in our own lives, where we are the prey (verse 16), because we have broken God's laws.  It would be perfectly just to punish or destroy us, but in repentance, instead, we find God willing to save us even from ourselves.  ... I think that is what the atonement is--Christ willing to fight our battles for us in a spiritual way, just like he will fight this physical one (or at least partly physical) for us at the Second Coming.

The chapter ends with a cool quote: "all flesh shall know that I the Lord am thy Savior and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."  I like the idea that eventually everyone will know the Lord.  I also think it is cool that Isaiah was talking about a different Jacob, but that it also applies to the Jacob who is quoting it here, any other Jacob, and really... all of us.  God is our mighty one.  He will save us.

Tune in next time as Jacob reads us more Isaiah. :)  Good stuff.

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